Friday, May 8, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Awareness

"The art of awareness is the art of learning how to wake up to the eternal miracle of life with its limitless possibilities." ~ Wilfred Peterson

Today, I was painfully unaware. I tripped out of my shoes twice on my way to work, had to go back into my house after getting halfway down the block because I realized I forgot my wallet, and by 4:00pm I wondered where on Earth the day went. I was hopeful this morning that a night of sleep had lifted my fog. Not today.

Bringing awareness to our lives amid tough circumstances is difficult. People insulate themselves from pain by building their own little world to live in. For a short time, that's helpful. But as Ani DiFranco said, "Self-preservation is a full-time occupation," and we can't live in our own world on a full-time basis. If we want to survive and thrive, we eventually have to join the rest of the human race, aware of circumstances all around us, most of which are far beyond our control.

So how do we wake up without being scared half to death? The world is tough, especially now, and being aware can be terrifying. How can we curb the anxiety induced by being completely conscious of what's going on around us? Even the idea of limitless possibilities can be overwhelming.

Here's what I do to get back my awareness while also keeping myself calm:

1.) I focus on my breathe, my heartbeat, and the movement of my joints - things I typically don't pay attention to. Recognizing the effort it takes to keep these things going makes me feel stronger.

2.) Consider that while there are limitless possibilities for my life, there are only certain things that I am good at and that I enjoy. If I overlay these two things over all the possibilities available to me, the list shrinks dramatically to a manageable number of options.

3.) Remember that many options are better than none.

4.) The flip side of awareness is ignorance, and ignorance is the thing I hate most in the world. I'd rather be aware and scared than ignorant and thoughtless.

5.) Those in history who have truly had an impact on the world are those who are keenly aware. My desire to have an impact is incredibly strong, and if the way to impact is awareness then I must take that road. My wish to make a difference is stronger than any of my fears.

No comments: